It seems to me that things like New Years are like little balsa-wood pegs that people hammer into the continuity of reality, for anchors and referents. To avoid that slippery feeling, you know.
That’s one way I can think about it. Not the only way.
Robert Graves had a beautiful little bit in The White Goddess about how to define a true poem. First he said that he agreed with A. E. Housman’s remark (I think it was Housman) that a real poem makes one’s beard bristle if one repeated it silently while shaving. The hair lifts, the throat contracts. Then he said that such passages derive their power from the fact that they show the presence of the Goddess “even in apparently unpeopled scenes, as when the moon appears from behind scudding cloud, or bare branches sway over a freezing waterfall while distant bells proclaim the birth of the New Year”. *
I think the first way of looking at New Year. I feel the second. Sort of — it’s not so cut and dried, really. Someone I knew years ago, I don’t recall who it was, opined that I was closer to being 50/50 emotional/rational than most other people he or she knew. I doubt it is rationally true that I am unusually balanced in this regard. I have often wished I could be more one or the other than I am.
But enough of that. The snow from the Boxing Day blizzard is lingering in patches. It’s gotten cold again, and there may be more snow in a few days. There was a small earthquake in Yorkshire, UK, and dead blackbirds fell on a small town in Arkansas in hundreds. There will be a solar eclipse visible over much of Eurasia, closest to totality in northern Sweden, tomorrow. Welcome, 2011 C.E.
*not exact quote, but not far off.